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9/30/2013

OSHA Launches New Safety and Health Certificate Program

Safety


OSHA has launched Public Sector Safety and Health Fundamentals, a new certificate program that provides public sector employees training on occupational safety and health to reduce injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among workers in state and local governments.

The certificate programs are available in construction and general industry. Students can choose from a variety of courses, including occupational safety and health standards for construction or general industry, safety and health management, accident investigation, fall hazard awareness, and recordkeeping. To earn a certificate, participants must complete a minimum of seven courses, consisting of three required courses and additional elective courses, totaling at least 68 hours of in-class training.

OSHA has created a new Web page dedicated to this certificate program. The page provides course descriptions and prerequisites, program information and instructions on how to apply to the program.

The certificate program is administered by OSHA Training Institute Education Centers, which are non-profit organizations authorized by OSHA to deliver occupational safety and health training. All courses required to complete the program are available at OTI Education Centers nationwide. Students can use OSHA's searchable course schedule to find training courses for the certificate program at http://www.osha.gov/dte/ecd/course_otiec_search_public.html.

Courses taken at different OTI Education Centers are transferrable and can count toward the certificate program.

Protect Workers from Struck-by Vehicle Incidents

In the past five years, 15% of all workplace fatalities investigated by the Kansas City Regional Office of OSHA have involved struck-by vehicle accidents in the workplace. Struck-by injuries and fatalities are caused by conventional traffic/passenger vehicles, forklifts and other moving, powered industrial equipment, such as cranes and yard trucks. Because of this, OSHA is continuing its regional outreach initiative in Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska to educate workers and their employers about preventing such accidents.

"We've investigated 37 cases in the past six years in which a worker was fatally injured from a struck-by vehicle incident," said Marcia P. Drumm, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Kansas City. "By continuing to spread awareness and safety tips through workers, employers, union groups and the like, we can help avoid these preventable tragedies."

Causes of struck-by accidents typically involve reverse vehicle movement into a pedestrian outside the driver's field of vision, or vehicles falling off ramps, inclines or unstable ground. Accident prevention strategies include ensuring back-up alarms are functional, walk periphery of vehicle before operating, staying alert, obeying all traffic rules and signs, minimizing distractions, inspecting and maintaining vehicles, using safety belts, and turning on headlights.

OSHA has developed educational materials called Evaluate Your Entire Surroundings, or E.Y.E.S., available in both English and Spanish. The materials include a one-page fact sheet with incident data and prevention strategies; an "OSHA Region 7 Informational Guide for Preventing Struck-By Accidents"; a brochure that covers risk assessment steps, common operator errors and safety tips; and a laminated poster.

GHS OSHA Hazard Communication Training PowerPoint Now Available

With OSHA’s adoption of the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals, virtually every chemical label, MSDS—now called Safety Data Sheet (SDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard.

By December 1, 2013, all employees at your site that work with, or are exposed to, hazardous chemicals must be trained to understand the new classification system, labels, warning statements, precautions, pictograms, and safety data sheets for chemicals at your worksite.

Environmental Resource Center is making available a PDF presentation or a customizable PowerPoint that you can use for on-site worker training. The training program, which covers all of OSHA’s required GHS Hazard Communication training requirements, is in a format that is easy to understand.

Pricing and options:

PDF Presentation – English, Spanish: $99 (single copy)

Multiple PDF copies can be purchased for $99/copy (1–10); $79/copy (11–20); or $69/copy (21+).

PowerPoint presentation with prompts to modify with your site-specific information - English, Spanish: $199 (single copy)

Multiple copies can be purchased for $199/copy (1–10), $179/copy (11–20), or $169/copy (21+).

Additional Options*:

1. Customized PowerPoint: send us your written GHS hazard communication plan and 10–20 safety data sheets. We’ll create a custom training program for your site: $899

2. If you have not updated your hazard communication plan, let Environmental Resource Center update it for you: $799

3. Customized PowerPoint and hazard communication plan: $1600.

*Call for Spanish pricing

How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS)

OSHA has issued a final rule revising its Hazard Communication Standard, aligning it with the United Nations’ globally harmonized system (GHS) for the classification and labeling of hazardous chemicals. This means that virtually every product label, safety data sheet (formerly called “material safety data sheet” or MSDS), and written hazard communication plan must be revised to meet the new standard. Worker training must be updated so that workers can recognize and understand the symbols and pictograms on the new labels as well as the new hazard statements and precautions on SDSs.

Environmental Resource Center is offering live online training for you to learn how the new rule differs from current requirements, how to implement the changes, and when the changes must be implemented. Bring your questions to one of the upcoming webcasts on How to Implement OSHA’s Globally Harmonized Hazard Communication Standard (GHS) offered on October 1 and December 12, 2013.

California Launches Safer Consumer Products Initiative

The Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) recently launched the first step in California’s pioneering Safer Consumer Products (SCP) Initiative by publishing a list of chemicals that will be used to identify and eventually reformulate consumer products that are a potential threat to public health and the environment.

Under the new regulations, the Department will develop a set of products, called “priority products,” that contain one of about 150 toxic chemicals included on the list. Manufacturers of priority products will be asked to evaluate the design of these products and to replace these chemicals with safer alternatives if feasible.

Five years in the making, the Safer Consumer Products initiative is a significant shift toward a more protective, economically viable approach in the way California ensures the safety of consumer products. And it provides an opportunity for innovative California industries to capitalize on the growing consumer demand for products that are safer and better for the environment.

The initiative, the first of its kind in the United States, is an integral part of the Brown Administration’s commitment to environmental protection and expanded business opportunities. The Safer Consumer Products initiative goes into effect October 1, 2013, and DTSC will phase it in slowly.

By April 2014, DTSC will select up to five priority products based upon such factors as the extent of their use, the potential for public exposure to the toxic ingredient, and how the products eventually are disposed. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide input on DTSC’s selection of specific priority products since the selection will be finalized via the regulation adoption process.

Companies that want to sell these “priority products” in California will then perform “alternative assessments” to determine if viable safer versions are available.

“The program starts out small, but it sends a big message,” said Debbie Raphael, DTSC Director. “Innovative and forward-thinking companies will realize the opportunities for growth that stem from this cutting-edge regulation. Smart businesses are already planning ahead, looking for alternative chemicals they can promote as less-toxic, family friendly and environmentally safe.”

The recent announcement of the chemical list was made at Hero Arts Inc., a family-run manufacturer of stamping and card-making supplies that has eliminated toxic chemicals from its processes. The company is known for its green practices, including getting its power from a 68-kilowatt solar array, requiring vendors to sign a green pledge, and hand-making its stamps using North American maple from sustainably managed forests.

Aaron Leventhal, Chief Executive Officer of Hero Arts, applauded the new regulation. “The reality is this Safer Consumer Products regulation is exactly the role government should play, and is one of the best ways it can help business” Leventhal said. “Such regulations can clarify an otherwise turbulent landscape, create rules that businesses can rely on and reduce long-term risk. This is a proposal that speaks to the future.”

Demand for green products has increased as consumers become more aware of potential adverse effects on health and the environment.

"This program represents a victory for public health,” said Gretchen Lee Salter of the Breast Cancer Fund. “For too long, toxic chemicals have been used in everyday products with no accountability. While there is still much work to be done, this is a big step for California and we look forward to working with the administration and the legislature to ensure the program lives up to its potential."

John Ulrich, executive director of the Chemical Industry Council of California, also welcomed the new initiative.

“These hazard- and exposure-based regulations have the potential to motivate forward-leaning companies to make already safe products even safer, and simultaneously to focus on consumer products that truly pose significant or widespread adverse impacts for Californians,” Ulrich said. “CICC is proud of its contributions to this effort and proud to have been invited to participate in an event marking the conclusion of this grueling regulatory development phase. We now stand ready to assist the implementation phase and help to further integrate ‘green chemistry’ into the world of chemical regulation.”

To find out more about the regulation, visit the DTSC Safer Consumer Products website. See the list of chemicals. Video on the Safer Consumer Products initiative is available here.

Los Angeles RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management in California and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Los Angeles, CA, on October 15–17 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Knoxville RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Knoxville, TN, on October 22–24 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

Mobile RCRA and DOT Training

Register for Hazardous Waste Management: The Complete Course and DOT Hazardous Materials Training: The Complete Course in Mobile, AL, on October 29–31 and save $100. To take advantage of this offer, click here or call 800-537-2372.

OSHA Providing Informational Resources to Assist Colorado Workers, Residents, and Businesses in Cleanup Efforts

OSHA urges workers, residents, and businesses engaged in flood cleanup activities to protect themselves against hazards as cleanup efforts continue and rebuilding activities begin.

OSHA will continue to provide informational resources about protective measures that should be employed during cleanup work. Fact sheets, quick cards, and other educational materials on safe work practices and personal protective equipment are currently available at many Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers along the Front Range.

Workers and residents can be exposed to many safety and health hazards while conducting cleanup and restoration activities, such as restoring electricity, communications, water and sewer services; demolition activities; removal of floodwater from structures; tree trimming; structural, roadway, bridge, dam and levee repair; use of cranes, aerial lifts and other heavy equipment; and hazardous waste operations. Only workers with proper training, equipment, and experience should conduct these activities.

Protective measures should involve evaluating the work area for all hazards; monitoring task-specific hazard exposure; employing engineering or work-practice controls to mitigate hazards; using personal protective equipment; exercising caution, and assuming that all power lines are live; following proper hygiene procedures; properly using portable generators, saws, ladders, vehicles, and other equipment; and paying attention to safety precautions for traffic work zones.

Agency personnel will be available on-site at some Disaster Assistance and Recovery Centers to answer questions and respond to concerns. To reach local representatives who can provide assistance, please call the agency's Denver Area Office at 303-844-5285; Englewood Area Office at 303-843-4500; or OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742). Additional publications in both English and Spanish can also be found on the agency's flood response and recovery operations.

OSHA Fines Four Manhattan Contractors $272,000 for Safety Violations

OSHA has proposed $272,720 in fines against four New York contractors for safety hazards identified during the construction of a midtown Manhattan hotel. The March 21 inspection was conducted in response to a complaint about fall hazards at the 325 W. 33rd St. work site.

The largest penalties of $249,920 are proposed for Flintlock Construction Services, LLC, the Mamaroneck-based general contractor for the construction of the 23-story hotel. Flintlock was cited for seven violations of OSHA's fall protection and scaffolding standards that involved workers exposed to potentially fatal falls of up to 26 feet while they were on scaffolding.

"These employees were one trip, slip, or misstep away from a deadly or disabling fall. Falls are the leading cause of death among workers in construction," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. "There is no excuse for an employer's failure to supply and ensure the use of legally required safeguards that can prevent injuries and save lives. The sizable fines proposed reflect both the severity of these hazards and that Flintlock was aware of, and failed to correct, the hazards."

Specifically, Flintlock failed to provide and ensure the use of fall protection, such as guardrails or personal fall- arrest systems, for workers on the scaffold; the scaffold lacked a safe means of access, causing workers to climb its cross-bracing to reach their work platforms; the work platforms were not fully planked; and the scaffold was not tied off to restrain it from tipping. These conditions resulted in the issuance of four willful citations, with $233,200 in fines to Flintlock.

OSHA also issued three serious citations, with $16,720 in fines, to Flintlock for additional hazards. These include failing to provide training on the hazards associated with erecting scaffolds; failing to have a competent person determine the feasibility of providing fall protection for workers erecting and dismantling the scaffolding; a scaffold walkway that was too narrow; and inadequate anchorage for the fall protection system.

V&P Altitude Corp., a Brooklyn-based siding contractor, was issued five serious citations, with $13,200 in fines, for lack of fall protection; no safe access to the scaffolding; not fully planking the scaffold platforms; failing to tie off the scaffolding; and not locking mobile scaffold wheels and casters.

SMK Associates, an Astoria-based masonry contractor, was issued three serious citations, with $7,600 in fines, for electrical hazards and failing to provide eye and face protection. Maspeth Steel Fabricators, Inc., a Maspeth-based steel framing contractor, was issued one serious citation, with a $2,000 fine, for failing to provide training on the hazards of working on scaffolds.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing, or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Due to the nature and severity of violations committed by Flintlock Construction Services, LLC, the general contractor has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

OSHA Fines Queens Trade Fair Supermarkets $128,000 for Laceration, Eye, Exit Hazards

OSHA has cited seven Trade Fair Supermarkets stores in Queens for 40 violations of workplace safety standards. The local grocery store chain faces $128,000 in proposed fines following inspections that began in March in response to complaints.

"Our inspections found a disturbing and unacceptable pattern of similar hazards in several stores. For the safety and health of its employees, Trade Fair Supermarkets must take effective action to correct these conditions at these and all its stores," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.

At the seven stores, OSHA found butchers operating band saws with unguarded blades and other workers using cleaning products without protective eye gear, exposing them to lacerations, amputations, and eye injuries. Four of the stores compromised swift and safe exiting during a fire or emergency because of locked or blocked exits, obstructed exit access, and unilluminated or missing exit signs. These conditions resulted in the issuance of 20 serious violation citations with $122,000 in proposed fines.

In addition, six stores failed to post the required annual summary of occupational illnesses and injuries. All seven stores lacked a chemical hazard communication program and training, and five stores had electrical hazards. These conditions resulted in citations for 20 other-than-serious violations with $6,000 in fines. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

Nebraska Cold Storage Exposes Workers to Ammonia, Other Hazards

Nebraska Cold Storage, Inc., has been cited for 14 safety violations and fined $132,800 by OSHA for exposing workers to anhydrous ammonia at its Hastings facility. The company has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

"Ammonia is considered a high health hazard because it can be corrosive to the skin, eyes and lungs. It is flammable at varying concentrations," said Bonita Winingham, OSHA's area director in Omaha. "Businesses that handle hazardous materials must take precautions to protect workers from exposure to chemicals, explosions and fire hazards."

The March inspection was initially conducted under OSHA's high-hazard local emphasis program. It expanded to include all items within the agency's national emphasis program for process safety management for covered chemical facilities. The company provides basic storage and shipping services for the frozen, refrigerated and perishable food industries.

Four willful violations were cited. Some involve PSM violations, including the failure to develop and implement written, safe operating and mechanical integrity procedures and measures to take for physical contact or airborne exposure to anhydrous ammonia. The remaining violations involve failing to correct deficiencies in equipment and to document responses to 2010 compliance audit findings, including 12 of 22 deficient audit items that remained uncorrected.

A total of 10 serious safety violations include lack of emergency action planning; failing to maintain the original ammonia refrigeration systems process hazard analysis; exposing workers to crushing hazards by failing to remove and/or repair damaged storage racks; and failing to evaluate the performance of a powered industrial truck operator every three years. The other violations include failing to prevent electrocution from ice buildup encasing electrical junction boxes; operating equipment within 30 inches of a fork truck charging station; and install fixed wiring and provide strain relief for power cords.

Texas Metal Exposes Workers to Uncontrolled Energy Sources

OSHA has cited Extruders, Inc., a division of Atrium Companies, Inc., in Wylie, for $166,000 in proposed penalties. The penalties are for 15 safety violations, including one willful, and for failing to protect workers from the inadvertent start-up of machinery during maintenance.

OSHA's Dallas Area Office began its March inspection of the company's Hensley Lane location following complaints about safety hazards. The one willful safety violation was cited for failing to develop written procedures and make them available to workers.

"By failing to provide instructions on how to lockout and tagout service panels, Extruders exposed the workers to possible electrocution hazards," said John Hermanson, OSHA's regional administrator in Dallas. "It's imperative that employers identify and correct potential hazards and uphold their responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace."

The 14 serious violations cited include failing to ensure and verify a workplace hazard assessment; provide eye protection to workers with prescription eyeglasses; conduct periodic inspection of lockout/tagout operations; provide lockout/tagout training for affected workers; and ensure the use of specific shift change procedures to prevent serious injuries or fatalities. Other violations include failing to ensure machine guards; legibly mark disconnections of the electrical panel breakers; provide a way to lock an equipment's means of disconnection in the open position; provide training on safe electrical work practices; ensure the de-energization of live electrical parts; ensure only qualified individuals work on electric circuit parts or equipment still energized; and provide workers with electrical protective equipment.

Extruders, Inc., is an aluminum extruder that makes windows and door frames.

Texas Tank Cleaner Fails to Protect Workers from Chemical Hazards

OSHA has cited Rucker Environmental Services, LLC, doing business as All Type Environmental Cleaning & Repair, for 33 safety and health violations with a proposed penalty of $83,300. A complaint inspection began in March at the Pasadena facility on Bay Area Boulevard, where tanks are cleaned with a variety of chemicals.

Some of the 21 serious violations cited include failing to properly contain, segregate and store chemicals; test confined spaces and provide a rescue plan; train workers and provide information on hazard communications; train and certify powered industrial trucks; correct various electrical hazards; provide emergency eyewash and shower stations; provide personal protective equipment, such as respirators; and properly test air quality and provide fall protection for workers performing cleaning tasks at elevations more than 4 feet above a lower level.

Some of the 12 other-than-serious violations include failing to provide an inhalation exposure assessment for respirators; conduct noise exposure assessments; provide training on hazardous waste operations and emergency response standards; properly calibrate confined space test equipment; provide first aid training and equipment; train and assess workers on benzene exposure; and properly label hazardous chemical containers.

"The employer is responsible for safeguarding workers from toxic and explosive hazards during chemical tank cleaning," said Mark Briggs, director of OSHA's Houston South Area Office. "Thankfully, these serious safety and health violations were found before any catastrophic or fatal incident occurred."

OSHA Fines Georgia Power $119,000 for 17 Serious Violations

Plant Bowen of the Georgia Power Co., has been cited by OSHA for 17 serious safety violations following a generator explosion. The April 2013 explosion occurred during a maintenance shutdown at the plant in Cartersville. Proposed penalties total $119,000.

"Fortunately, no one was injured or killed as a result of this explosion," said Christi Griffin, director of OSHA's Atlanta-West Area Office. "Our inspection found several serious safety hazards that the company must address immediately to protect its workers. It is a fundamental responsibility of employers to ensure a safe workplace."

The serious violations found at Plant Bowen include a failure to comply with OSHA's tagout procedures for power generation plants; ensure that the worker in charge conducted a safety briefing with workers before they start each job; use a tagout system without demonstrating it solely can provide full workers' protection; develop, document and use procedures to control potentially hazardous energy; and describe the scope, purpose, responsibility, authorization and techniques for maintenance procedures. Other violations include failing to follow specific procedures to remove and transfer tagout devices; perform an annual inspection of all energy control procedures; use the shutdown procedures established for each machine or equipment; prohibit ignition sources near hydrogen or hydrogen sealing systems; assign a worker the responsibility for overall tagout control; and verify the isolation and de-energization of the machine or equipment.

OSHA Cites Texas-Based IFCO Systems North America for Repeat Violations

OSHA has cited Pallet Companies, Inc., doing business as IFCO Systems North America, Inc., for four safety and health violations following a complaint received in July concerning workplace hazards at the company's Jacksonville facility. Proposed penalties total $61,600.

OSHA issued a repeat safety citation and a repeat health citation, for a total of $55,000 in penalties, for failing to develop, document, and utilize procedures to control potentially hazardous energy while servicing or maintaining equipment, and not implementing an effective hearing conservation program whenever noise exposures equal or exceed the permissible exposure limit. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule, or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in 2009 and 2011.

A serious safety violation, with a $6,600 penalty, was cited for not ensuring conductors were protected from abrasion when entering cutout boxes, cabinets or fittings.

One other-than-serious violation was also cited, with no proposed penalty, for failing to verify whether the required workplace hazard assessment had been conducted through a written certification process.

"This employer continues to put employees at risk of serious injury or death by failing to implement proper protections," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "It's the employer's responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace."

IFCO Systems North America is a wood pallet sort and repair facility with corporate offices in Houston.

OSHA Fines Nursing Care Facility $41,000 for Multiple Safety Violations

OSHA has cited Avalon Gardens Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, Inc., in Smithtown, for 11 serious violations of workplace health and safety standards, with $41,000 in proposed penalties, following an inspection. OSHA's Long Island Area Office began the inspection on April 18 in response to a complaint.

"Our inspection identified hazards that can and should be quickly and effectively corrected," said Anthony Ciuffo, OSHA's Long Island area director. "The protection and well-being of those who take care of the ill and injured is dependent on their employer's compliance at all times with proper and required safeguards."

OSHA found that the facility failed to research and document the use of safer medical devices to reduce occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens arising from needlestick injuries. OSHA's bloodborne pathogen standard requires employers to consider and use safer medical devices, whenever possible. Such devices include those that are needleless or have built-in protection to guard workers against potential contamination.

The facility also failed to provide eye protection for nurses, properly store and dispose of contaminated clothing and gloves, and provide training to workers on proper disposal procedures. Additional violations cited include a wet floor due to an unconnected drain; an obstructed exit route; unmarked exit doors; lack of an eyewash station for workers using sanitizers; an exposed electrical panel; and improper storage of compressed gas cylinders.

Detailed information on hazards and safeguards for employees working in health care is available online.

Hazzard Marine Cited for Over 30 Safety and Health Violations

OSHA has cited Hazzard Marine, LLC, with 32 safety and health violations and $59,200 in proposed penalties following a May inspection prompted by a complaint at the marina in Georgetown.

Twenty-eight serious safety and health violations, with $58,800 in penalties, include the employer's failure to develop and implement a written respiratory protection program; identify and evaluate respiratory hazards in the workplace; develop, implement or maintain a written hazard communication program; designate a competent person to perform inspections and tests, such as air sampling in a confined space; and ensure visual inspection of spaces containing combustible or flammable liquids before workers' initial entry. Additionally, the employer failed to train workers about the dangers associated with working in confined/enclosed spaces and establish an in-house rescue team, or make arrangements with an outside agency for prompt emergency response, and determine the potential hazards that require the use of personal protective equipment. Other violations involve permitting industrial truck operators to not wear seat belts and to use equipment without proper training, or when equipment is in need of repair; the use of compressed air for cleaning exceeding 30 pounds-per-square inch; not having a first aid provider available during each shift; failing to have a written fire safety plan; a lack of equipment guarding; and instances of electrical and explosion hazards.

Four other-than-serious violations, with $400 in penalties, relate to failing to have an air compressor with the glass cover over the pressure gauge, record workplace injuries and illnesses on OSHA's 300 log for 2013, post signs that read "no smoking" in the paint spray area, and have hot or tepid running water in the lavatory.

"Our inspection found serious hazards that reflect management's lack of knowledge of safety procedures," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Columbia. "Employers are responsible for being aware of potential hazards and implementing appropriate preventative measures to ensure a safe and healthful workplace."

Hazzard Marine provides services for boat repair, cleaning, storage, dock rental and refitting.

New Jersey Shirtmaker Fined Over $50,000 for Exposing Workers to Hazards

OSHA has cited Individualized Shirt Co., doing business as Individualized Shirts, for 13 health and safety violations following an inspection begun in April in response to a complaint at its Perth Amboy facility. Proposed fines total $50,400.

Twelve serious violations, with $49,500 in penalties, were cited for failing to ensure unobstructed emergency exit routes; develop a written emergency action plan; have training for workers required to use fire extinguishers; provide machine guarding; prevent exposure to electrical hazards; and develop a lockout/tagout program. The company was also cited for failing to develop a workplace hazard assessment, provide personal protective equipment, and develop a hazard communication program for workers exposed to hazardous chemicals.

An other-than-serious violation, which carries a $900 penalty, was cited for the company's failure to post the OSHA 300A form as required annually.

"Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy work environment, including taking proactive steps to prevent and address hazards," said Patricia Jones, director of the OSHA Avenel Area Office. "OSHA will continue to hold employers responsible when they fail to protect their workers."

Massachusetts Contractor Faces Fines for Cave-In Hazards

Potentially fatal cave-in hazards at a Chelsea work site have resulted in $34,400 in proposed fines for Tufts, Inc., a Medford contractor. Responding to a complaint on July 2, OSHA inspectors from the Andover Area Office observed workers installing a sewer pipe in an unprotected 7-foot-deep excavation at 30 High St.

OSHA found that workers in the excavation not only lacked protection against a potential wall collapse, they were also without a ladder or other safe means of entry or egress. Additionally, water had begun to accumulate and potentially undermine the bottom of the excavation, while asphalt at the top of the excavation was not supported to keep from falling on the workers.

"These workers could have been crushed and buried in seconds without a chance to react or escape," said Jeffrey Erskine, OSHA's area director for Essex and Middlesex counties in Massachusetts. "Of special concern is that this employer knew of these hazards, but did not correct them before workers entered the excavation."

As a result of these conditions, OSHA issued the company one willful citation carrying a $28,000 fine for the unprotected excavation, and three serious citations carrying $6,400 in fines for the remaining hazards.

OSHA standards require that excavations five feet or deeper be protected against collapse. Means of protection can include shoring the excavation's side walls, sloping the soil at a shallow angle or use of a protective trench box.

New York Contractor Cited for Serious Violations after Deck Collapses

OSHA has cited RNC Industries, LLC, a construction contractor, for repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards following a March 29 decking collapse that injured a worker at a construction site located at 23 W. 116th St. in Manhattan. The Holtsville contractor faces a total of $58,410 in proposed penalties following an inspection by OSHA's Manhattan Area Office.

RNC Industries' employees were constructing a deck on the second floor level when one of the employees stepped on a support beam that collapsed, causing him to fall 15 feet to the ground. OSHA's inspection found that the support system had not been properly erected, and the support beams were damaged and had not been inspected for defects. Additionally, the employees lacked fall protection, exposing them to falls of up to 15 feet. They had not been trained to recognize and minimize fall hazards.

"This incident, and the resulting worker injury, would not have occurred had the support system been inspected and properly erected, and if the employees had been provided adequate fall protection and training," said Kay Gee, OSHA's area director for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. "Falls are the number-one killer in construction work. Employers must ensure that their workers are properly trained and equipped to prevent falls from occurring. This case clearly shows what can result when required safeguards are ignored."

OSHA issued the contractor one repeat citation, with a fine of $34,650, for the lack of fall protection. A similar hazard was cited in 2010 at a Bronx work site. Four serious citations, with $23,760 in fines, were issued for the support system and training hazards.

OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters, and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

UPS Inc. Cited for Repeat, Serious Safety Hazards

UPS, Inc., has been cited OSHA for safety hazards found at the company's processing and distribution center at 493 County Road in Secaucus. OSHA's March investigation was initiated in response to a complaint and resulted in $45,500 in proposed penalties.

A repeat violation, which includes a $38,500 penalty, involves blocked exit routes. A similar violation was cited in 2012. Carrying a $7,000 penalty, one serious violation was cited for lack of guarding on extendable conveyors.

"UPS entered into a corporatewide settlement agreement with OSHA in 2009, after it was cited for failing to ensure unobstructed exit routes. This same violation was found at its Secaucus center," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Area Office in Parsippany. "Jeopardizing workers' safety will not be tolerated by OSHA. UPS is responsible, like all employers, for providing a safe and healthful workplace for employees."

Whistleblower Reports Bedbugs at Ohio Retirement Home

A federal court has ordered S.E.M. Villa II, Inc., a nonprofit corporation that operates S.E.M. Terrace, a retirement facility in Milford, to pay a former resident manager $20,000 in back wages pursuant to a consent judgment and order in a case involving violations of the whistleblower provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The complaint alleged that the employer terminated the resident manager for filing a complaint with the Clermont County General Health District stating that S.E.M. Villa II had been ineffective in handling a bedbug infestation at the retirement home.

"OSHA is committed to protecting the rights of America's workers, who are penalized or terminated for filing complaints seeking to improve the safety and health of their work environment and those affected by it," said Nick A. Walters, OSHA's regional administrator in Chicago. "A worker should never be at risk of losing their job for reporting health and safety violations and exercising their whistleblower rights."

The manager was dismissed October 5, 2011. Federal Magistrate Judge J. Gregory Wehrman ordered the company to remove all derogatory information related to the dismissal from the worker's employment record and to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act in the future. The company must also post a notice for workers regarding their rights under the act.

The department's Regional Office of the Solicitor in Cleveland litigated the case.

OSHA enforces the whistleblower provisions of 22 statutes protecting employees who report violations of various airline, commercial motor carrier, consumer product, environmental, financial reform, food safety, motor vehicle safety, health care reform, nuclear, pipeline, public transportation agency, railroad, maritime, and securities laws.

Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who raise various protected concerns or provide protected information to the employer or the government. Employees who believe that they have been retaliated against for engaging in protected conduct may file a complaint with the secretary of labor for an investigation by OSHA's Whistleblower Protection Program.

OSHA, Buckeye STEPS Network Establish Alliance to Address Hazards Associated with Oil and Gas Operations

OSHA has established an alliance with the Buckeye Service, Transmission, Exploration, and Production Safety Network to provide participating employers with guidance and access to training resources to address hazards associated with oil and gas operations.

"This alliance reflects a mutual recognition of the importance of ensuring workers' safety and health in the growing oil and gas industry," said Deborah Zubaty, OSHA's area director in Columbus. "We are working together to spread awareness and ensure employers have the ability to address issues effectively, such as air contaminants, chemical exposure, vehicle operations and heat stress, which are the leading causes of injury and illness in this industry."

As part of the voluntary alliance, OSHA and the Buckeye STEPS Network will share information on OSHA's emphasis programs, regulatory agenda, and opportunities to participate in the rulemaking process. Additionally, they will participate in forums and stakeholder meetings regarding safety and health issues, work together to forge solutions and share information through outreach and communication goals.

The oil and gas extraction industry recorded a 10-year high in fatal occupational injuries in 2012. According to preliminary data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 138 workers in the private oil and gas extraction industry died as a result of work-related injury in 2012. From 2003 to 2012, 1,073 workers in this industry have been killed.

The alliance is focused on improving safety and health programs, promoting a cooperative relationship between OSHA and the oil and gas industry, and encouraging worker participation to achieve a safe and healthful workplace. It aims to meet these goals through increased training resources, implementation of best work practices, and compliance with applicable OSHA standards and regulations.

Buckeye STEPS and OSHA Alliance will also participate in the National Voluntary Stand Down of US Onshore Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, co-sponsored by National STEPS, oil and gas industry groups and OSHA which is planned for November 14. A stand down is a voluntary, coordinated pause in the workday to discuss and address workplace safety issues.

Through its Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses, and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries, and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA inspections.

OSHA Forms Alliance to Promote Safety and Health in the Oil and Gas Well Industry

The Dallas OSHA office has signed a region-wide alliance with the Association of Energy Service Companies to develop a collaborative relationship aimed at protecting workers in the oil and gas well industry. The goal is to promote understanding of workplace safety and health and the rights and the responsibilities of workers and employers by increasing access to material and knowledge.

"We welcome the opportunity to join with the AESC to champion proactive ideas in an effort to eliminate hazards and protect workers in the oil and gas well industry," said Eric Harbin, OSHA's deputy regional administrator in Dallas. "OSHA's relationship with AESC will pioneer new ideas and best practices to help make this industry as safe and healthful as possible."

Along with its member companies, AESC will work closely with OSHA to build upon existing training and outreach as well as workplace health and safety goals.

The association, established in 1956, originally represented oil well servicing contractors. In 1996, AESC became known under its current name to reflect an increase in energy industry service providers and members. Association members now include field crews, engineers, manufacturers, and oil and gas producers and operators.

Through the Alliance Program, OSHA works with unions, consulates, trade and professional organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, businesses and educational institutions to prevent workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses. The purpose of each alliance is to develop compliance assistance tools and resources and to educate workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities. Alliance Program participants do not receive exemptions from OSHA programmed inspections.

OCDC Jefferson County Earns Safety Recognition

Oregon OSHA welcomes the Oregon Child Development Coalition, Inc., (OCDC) in

Jefferson County as the latest employer in the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP).

SHARP provides an incentive for Oregon employers to work with their employees to find and correct hazards, develop and implement effective safety and health programs, and continuously improve. The ultimate goal of SHARP is to encourage employers to become self-sufficient in managing workplace safety and health issues. Currently, close to 60 employer locations in Oregon participate in SHARP, in addition to approximately 110 facilities that have graduated from the program.

OCDC, a private, not-for-profit company, provides Head Start and Oregon pre-kindergarten early childhood education services for low-income and disadvantaged children. Many of the services OCDC offers are for Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, which serves low-income families who obtain at least 50% of their income from agricultural work. Family and health services are also provided, including parent education and medical and dental care for children. The Jefferson County location employs 50 workers.

"This is OCDC's second SHARP business unit," said Donalda Dodson, OCDC executive director. "Our goal is to have all OCDC locations in the program. SHARP requires our managers and staff to look at safety and health in a more formal manner. It helps us identify areas that strengthen our safety culture for both employees and children."

Oregon employers that have been in business for more than one year are eligible to apply for SHARP, regardless of size or type of business.

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